Fifteen years ago, when the Three Rivers Museum moved into its new home on the highway to Sequoia National Park, one dream came true and another began to form. The renovated building offered the perfect location for display of some of Mineral King’s history.
Three Rivers and Mineral King have a long shared history. Beginning around 3,000 years ago, prehistoric people began to move from the foothills up into Mineral King and the surrounding highlands on hunting expeditions. By at least 300 years ago, the local Wukchumni Yokuts settled in full summer-long hunting and gathering encampments in Mineral King and the two communities became one.
As the first Euro-Americans settled in the Three Rivers area during the 1860s, they followed the East Fork of the Kaweah into Mineral King to graze cattle, sheep and hogs. When two mining booms hit Mineral King in the 1870s, Three Rivers people participated and also offered services to the miners. Many considered themselves residents of both “towns.”
The connection grew stronger through the years. Lumbering operations; the opening of Forest Service cabin communities; the proposed development of a major winter and summer resort that the Disney Corporation was chosen to build; and finally integration into Sequoia National Park, brought ever more residents and visitors to both Three Rivers and Mineral King. The connection continues to this day.
Recognizing the importance to local, state and national history, members of the Three Rivers Historical Society and the Mineral King Preservation Society began a serious effort four years ago to create a special place for the Mineral King story.
That effort is now coming to fruition. Construction of a museum addition is being funded by a member of the Mineral King Preservation Society to provide a home for public display of the Preservation Society’s growing collection of Mineral King artifacts, records and photographs.
With a portion of the room dedicated to more space for display of the Three Rivers story, the two societies will be working together for decades to bring our amazing interconnected story together.
On Sunday, Oct. 25, a groundbreaking ceremony for construction of the Mineral King Room will take place at 2 p.m. during the Three Rivers Museum’s 15th anniversary event (1 to 4 p.m.). Come join us in the celebration.
EDITOR'S NOTE: See a photo of the groundbreaking here.